Stop Gossip in Its Tracks
One of the things that make interactions lively is the never-ending flow of topics. Moving from one topic to the other without missing a beat often leaves you thrilled. It even helps your productivity when you find something relatable to talk about while working. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with either your partner or co-worker. But what happens when harmless chatter turns into gossip?
When innocuous conversations turn into a convenient platform where negativity, rumors, or idle chatter about other people can be exchanged, it becomes gossip. This is basically talking about someone’s private affairs in public, which is bound to leave them embarrassed and hurt. No matter how much you try to sugarcoat it, gossip is bad. It spreads lies and hurtful comments about others.
The irony about gossip is those who typically gossip about others adamantly do not want to be gossiped about. Funny how that works, isn’t it? They would rather discuss other people than turn attention to their private issues. This can be a pretty good indicator of low self-esteem most of the time, in which one person brings down another person to simply feel better about themselves. Think of it as non-physical bullying.
However, as the Golden Rule states, it is better to do unto others what you want to be done to you. You shouldn’t go around gossiping and expect no one to gossip about you in return. Reciprocity can be a cruel but wise teacher. Studies show that the people most likely to be engaging in gossip do not limit their gossip—everyone is fair game. Think about it, you finished gossiping about someone to a supposed friend, what makes you think you won’t be the next subject this friend brings up to someone else? In the end, you’re stuck in a loop of backstabbing gossip and sharing hurtful things about people and yourself.
When it comes to relationships, it’s expected that you talk freely with one another. But you must be careful not to turn your relationship into a gossip ground. Your partner shouldn’t be fed nasty rumors or talks concerning other people. It’s an easy way to show that you’re not trustworthy. In the same vein, you must be careful not to allow your friends to gossip about your relationship – keep critical Information private. No one needs to know about your last fight with your partner, no one needs to know about minor or major secrets, and no one needs to know about extremely private details in your sex life. Some things should and must be out of bounds. Chances are that if you gossip about your relationship with your friends, they’ll most likely talk to others about it.
In order to fight against your instinct to either listen to or perpetuate gossip, you need to voluntarily admit yourself into gossip rehab!
How to Stop Gossip
It’s up to you to make some conscious steps toward ridding yourself of this nasty, overly critical addiction. Words spread like wildfire. No matter how tiny the spark, they will definitely be blown out of proportion and there’ll be no way to take them back once they have been said. Hence to avoid spreading hurt or private information about your relationship or another person, you must avoid gossiping.
Here are a few tips on kickstarting your rehab:
Keep It Private
If you’ve fallen into a misunderstanding with someone, privately talk to the person about it. In the same vein, if you had a conversation with a few secrets involved, whether minor or major, ensure that whatever is said in private remains private – no one else has to know. This way, you’ll prove yourself trustworthy.
Change the Topic
Neither you nor your partner ‘needs’ to gossip. Don’t be the one to bring up gossip and quickly change the topic of your conversation if it’s bordering on gossip. Chances are that you or your partner engaging in gossip at first was unintentional; hence, help your partner or friend by changing the topic. There are more things to talk about than other people’s business.
Don’t Spread Gossip
If you’re unable to change the topic, you can do your part by keeping your lipes sealed about whatever you heard. Don’t talk to another person about it – at best, confront the subject of the gossip and ask for clarification. Where you’re not comfortable with divulging a secret or your own personal comments concerning a topic, it’s best you just keep quiet. You have the control to keep what you have heard there—you can be sure the information doesn’t spread further because of you.
Chances are that you might not be able to resist talking about what you heard with someone else. This is true for persons who’re compulsive gossipers. You can help yourself by walking away from a conversation that turned into gossip. Find an excuse to either change the topic or leave the conversation entirely. It helps to keep you in check, especially if you’ve recognized you have a problem. We don’t magically stop bad habits; it takes conscious, controlled effort.
Weigh the Facts
In most cases, gossip is quite often minor things blown out of proportion. In order not to spread gossip, make a mental note not to believe everything you hear. If you know the person being gossiped about, compare your knowledge of and about that person. Do the rumors make sense? Do you know otherwise? Has your experience with that person been totally different? If the information doesn’t tally, then something isn’t true – and it’s most likely the gossip that’s false. Once you’ve determined what actually does make sense, you can easily make a decision to avoid spreading lies and hurtful comments, as these would cause a dent in your own image. And that is the real truth. You look bad when you gossip. You hurt yourself.
If you feel like talking about someone, your partner, or your relationship, think about your words and the potential consequences. You are not a drone bee incapable of reasoned control over yourself. Are you sure you want to take the risk to say things you’d end up regretting? If whatever you intend to share is nasty or potentially hurtful, then it is best you don’t share it.
One of the ways to stop a habit is to stop indulging in it. Just as you fast to curb addictions, you can also fast against gossip. Discipline yourself not to talk about anyone for a day or two. Pick out an accountability partner so you don’t relapse into gossip – your best bet would be your relationship partner or best friend. The people who really care about you are devoted to your self-development and improvement. They want to help you curb bad habits and replace them with better, more positive ones.
By making these important changes and steps toward kicking your addiction, you will slowly but surely rehabilitate yourself. It’s hurtful when people say negative or false things about you. Just as you feel hurt, someone else feels it when you gossip. It is simply not realistic to detach yourself. If you don’t like it, then others won’t either. There’s nothing productive or healthy about gossip. It degrades your integrity, and it threatens your relationship with others. To avoid it, practice being honest and truthful, sticking to facts over rumors. Stop complaining and trying to create actual problems when there really are none. More importantly, respect the privacy and feelings of others, and only speak about what you’ve been given permission to speak about. Be the person people want to trust and want to share things with because they know they are safe with you. If you can start to integrate these practices into your life, you are well are your way to being cured of your gossip dependency!
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